Stony Brook Women’s Soccer was tied 1-1 with New Hampshire through 85 minutes of action when a wayward ball headed towards senior midfielder Samantha Goodwin.
Goodwin rushed into a frantic scramble of teammates and opponents to play the ball off a diving save by New Hampshire senior goalkeeper Mia Neas. She rifled a shot into the open net as soon as she had the chance, giving Stony Brook a 2-1 lead that powered them through the rest of the match.
“It was very chaotic,” Goodwin said. “I just saw the ball coming back, pulled off a player and just kicked it. I think everyone playing on the field really gave it their all.”
The two-shot sequence that netted the Seawolves the late win came at the back end of an aggressive 90 minutes from both teams, featuring 18 fouls and 20 shots in total. Stony Brook, however, maintained the advantage in shots on goal. The team’s frenetic attacking pace produced eight shots on goal to New Hampshire’s two.
“It’s something we’ve talked about a lot, just being dangerous in the final third and running hard,” head coach Brendan Faherty said. “We were really dangerous, our flank play was really really good. They were getting into dangerous spots and getting crosses off. I’m really happy that we were finally able to finish it.”
Stony Brook and New Hampshire had their respective feet on the gas from the opening minutes of the match, firing off four shots between them in the first 10 minutes. The quick start was a noticeable departure from Stony Brook’s style in the win against Hartford the week prior, in which both teams played cautiously through the first half and felt each other out.
“The game was more open, for sure, than the Hartford game,” Faherty said. “I think part of that is they were pressuring higher up the field than Hartford was. Hartford let us kind of build a little out of the back where New Hampshire didn’t want us to get in that passing flow, so they were pressuring us.”
While the Seawolves’ aggression dictated the flow of the game early, the Wildcats ultimately struck first. Sophomore forward Kaylan Williams juked past Stony Brook senior defender Kaitlin Loughren on the wet pitch for an easy goal in the 17th minute.
Faherty did not blame the goal on the damp field, but he believes the pitch at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium plays differently when wet.
“This turf plays a lot quicker when you compare it to Hartford, which just put down brand new turf,” Faherty said. “This turf definitely plays a little bit faster when you add rain to it, but I think that was a good goal by New Hampshire.”
The Seawolves kept pressing after going down early, playing a fluid positional game and moving extra players up when driving down the pitch. Their aggression paid off before the half was finished, when freshman forward Rachel Florenz fielded a pass from freshman forward Fanny Gotesson for an equalizer from point-blank range in the 34th minute.
Faherty also credits the team’s frequent use of substitutions for helping the Seawolves maintain an edge on the attack, with fresh legs allowing players to move past their worn-out opponents.
“We ran three different players in at attacking mid and we ran a lot of players in on the forward line,” Faherty said. “I think that’s somewhere where we find success, playing a lot of players and getting a lot of minutes so we have fresh people. At the 10 position, we had three different players that played 15 minutes each, and I think that’s hard for their six to play against three different players in a 45-minute span.”
Stony Brook’s win improves the team’s conference record to 3-1 and 7-7 overall. The Wildcats’ loss snaps a six-match winning streak for the team, dropping them to 4-1 in the conference and 10-4 overall.
The Seawolves will head back on the road for their next match against Binghamton on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. before coming back for a two-game homestand against UMBC and Albany on Sunday, Oct. 15 and Thursday, Oct. 19.